Baked sweet potato with tahini butter and sesame seed crunch is pretty incredibly tasty. You wouldn’t have thought so, would you? Plus it’s a perfect keto fat bomb.
A no-recipe recipe
It’s almost a non-dish. It definitely is a non-recipe, because the only thing you might not know is what to add to the tahini and butter to make it even more unbelievably gorgeous. The answer is lime and soy sauce, and so you can stop reading now and go away to make your divine potato.
Just joking. Don’t go!
I was dubious reading about it in NY Times Cooking section: tahini on potato?
God knows I struggle enough to use tahini ad lib, in my own, non-prescriptive dishes. Does it go with pasta? With meat? Maybe fish? Is there anything else apart from hummus that tahini fits into?
But I set out to give this one a try because the recipe was adapted for NYTC by Samin Nosrat and I have boundless love and respect towards Samin. I trust her with my food – and that’s to say much more than any other declaration of faith.
I did modify the recipe somewhat as I don’t agree that sweet potatoes are ‘fibrous and leathery’ when baked in the oven.
To the contrary, in my view the suggested cooking method, steaming (not Samin's idea though!), makes them soggy and microwave-evocative.
This is how to bake sweet potatoes
In fact, I bake sweet potatoes in the same way as white potatoes, they just take less time.
But the process is the same: piercing the skin all over, brushing with oil and sprinkling with salt before wrapping them individually in kitchen foil.
Baking, in a hot oven at 220C, takes about an hour for modest-sized sweet potatoes and 90 minutes for the white ones.
In order to crispen the skin, I open up the foil parcels for the last 15 minutes in the case of these sweet potatoes.
And they are perfect: soft throughout, with smooth but crisp skin.
While sweet potatoes receive my own treatment, I cannot fault the tahini butter from the original recipe.
Tahini is a difficult beast so if it had thickened a lot and separated, you’ll need to stir it very well until the oil mixes back in and the product is runny.
The additions are genius: something acidic (lime juice), something salty (soy sauce), something fragrant to boost the sesameness of the dressing and a touch of sharper, garlicky flavour.
At first it will seem like all those parts will never mix into a sum of smooth sauce but they will if you persevere. And then you’ll wish you’d made up more of it.
Because the combination, just as Samin promises in the intro to the NYT recipe, is amazingly salty, rich and umami against the backdrop of sweet potatoes.
So apart from the fact that the dish is beyond delicious, it’s also magic for weight loss.
Here you are, stuffing your face with sweet (sweet!) potatoes, topped with double butter and double sesame (as tahini is a kind of fat in itself, and it’s made from sesame), and the next day – well, hello, scales! Can you do this every day?
Tahini combined with butter is a kind of a fat bomb. Fat bombs are exactly like the seed and lard balls that you feed birds with – except more suited to human palate.
They have become trendy thanks to the keto diet: all day fat, fat, fat plus a little oil in my coffee, basically. Fat in ketosis is supposed to accelerate weight loss by forcing your body to burn it for energy, instead of carbohydrates of which you intake none.
It makes some sense and works, though I do not recommend it: been there, done it, came back awfully bored with the samey nosh.
The same results can be achieved the healthier way through a balanced diet of everything in moderation. And if you have willpower enough to refuse cake, you should not have problems keeping the amounts you eat down.
Sweet potatoes however contain 20g carbs per 100g weight so not exactly keto-friendly. How come the tahini fat bomb alongside the potatoes does not have the adverse effect?
I think it is because the tahini bomb makes sure you’re full, satiated and get a boost of energy, so you don’t go looking for a snack half an hour later.
But really – the fact that this dish is just so tasty is reason completely enough to make it a fixture in your menu.
More sweet potato recipes
Black bean stuffed sweet potatoes with melted cheese, served with sour cream topping and sliced avocado - what a healthy and delicious vegetarian meal! Vegan, if you use dairy free cheese and cream.
Cheesy sweet potato tray bake with bacon, peppers and tomatoes. Sweet potato wedges are seasoned with Creole spice, and the bacon is totally optional.
Double cooked sweet potato slices with a crispy, crunchy topping of chopped chorizo and bacon, with herby sour cream sauce. It’s an irresistible combination of sweet, salty and spicy or soft, crispy and creamy.